Heroes and Hounds Paperback – Nov 10 2010
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About the Author
Bill Miller has been riding to the hounds for over 40 years. For nearly 20 years he has been an honorary whipper-in for the Norfolk Hunt Club. Bill is also actively involved in Team Penning during the summer months. He lives on a small farm in Sherborn, Massachusetts with his wife and three horses. When not working with horses, Bill is an independent film director and cinematographer. His website is: www.billmillerfilm.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Hampton is a new addition to the kennels and because one of the other hounds is injured, he gets to join in. He's reall excited but he's never ran so much and he is tired. When he gets a drink at the stream, the Hunt leaves him and Hampton is lost. He is hungry, tired and just wants to go home. When he smells something yummy on the air, he follows his nose and winds up at the home of Strange Willie.
Willie is a vet who lives very basically and doesn't ask for much. Most of the children in the area are scared to death of him. At first Willie tries to shoot Hampton, but thankfully a fox leaps in the way and saves Hampton. Later, Hampton saves the fox from one of Willie's booby traps. An unorthodox friendship, but it works. When Willie's house catches afire, even though he had tried to shoot Hampton, he enters the abode and wakens Willie, saving his life.
Carly is determined to find the lost hound, but when she is out looking, a rabid skunk approaches her. Thankfully, Willie saves her life. He isn't as scary as everyone says and she sees he has Hampton. But the Master of the Hunt is looking for Hampton and Carly isn't sure what the right thing to do would be. But when one of her friends disappears, Carly knows she has to speak up.
Heroes and Hounds is a middle-grade novel with appealing characters and several great messages. Bringing the fox and the hound to life in a new twist from the Disney version is delightful and thoroughly entertaining. Miller does a great job of keeping the reader involved in the story with many adventures. If you like animals and a clean read, pick this one up! You're sure to enjoy it!
Hampton is a young hound that was allowed to join the hunting hounds after an older hound was wounded. Having been trained for the day that he could join the hunt, Hampton is excited to be chosen. But when he picks up the fox's scent in a different direction than the rest of the pack, Hampton finds himself lost and unable to determine where the pack of hounds went.
Heroes and Hounds alternates between adventures: some chapters telling the adventures Carly is having in search of the lost hound Hampton and the remaining chapters let us see the adventures that Hampton is having while trying to find his way back home. Mr. Miller does an excellent job allowing me to see both sides while holding my attention. An enduring tale of courage, friendship and the bonds created between humans and their animal companions. I strongly recommend this book to any animal lovers and can't wait for my daughter to get a little older so that she can read about Carly's adventures.
Carly is 11 years old and lives with her grandfather on a 200-acre Virginia farm while both parents serve in the military overseas. She loves the farm, and befriends all of the animals including a sneaky red fox that stalks her grandfather's prize chickens. Her best friend is her pony, Monroe, who shares her enthusiasm for adventure. Carly's constant dream is to ride with the Riverdale Hunt Club that passes through her grandfather's property.
On one particularly rainy Saturday, Carly watches from her front porch as the finely dressed ladies and gentlemen ride to the hounds. Later in the day, Carly finds out that a young hound named Hampton has become lost and Carly is determined to find him and by so doing endear herself to the hunt's Master; perhaps to be asked to ride Monroe in an upcoming meet. Carly enlists the help of her friend, Freddie, but the adventure is just beginning. Carly, Monroe, Hampton and the red fox have no idea what's dangers await them.
This delightful story is full of excitement and action. The main character, Carly, has all the characteristics of a typical eleven year old girl. She lives with her grandfather, 'Grandpa Oakley' while her parents are in the armed Forces. Her best friends are Freddie, a young lad of about the same age, Buster, her grandfather's cat, and her pony Monroe. Although she was brought up in the suburbs, she has quickly adapted to life on her grandfather's farm and loves living in the country.
The animals in this story are as important as the human characters. They have their own personalities but are not 'humanised' and are written as 'real' animals. Apart from Monroe, there is the foxhound, called Hampton and a wily red fox. The two become unlikely allies - and they and Carly and Freddie become unwittingly involved with an aging Vietnam veteran, 'Strange Willie' rumoured to be half mad and more than a little dangerous. The story moves along at a fast pace, from the beginning of the adventure when Hampton becomes separated from the hunt, is injured and lost to the the thrilling climax when Freddie goes missing and suspicion falls on Strange Willie. Carly, riding Monroe, leads the search party in a desperate chase across country, and Strange Willie saves the hunt pack from a terrible fate.
Apart from being a really good adventure story, with animals and characters that children can easily relate to, there are some good lessons to be learnt along the way, like not making hasty judgements, and that honesty, friendship and loyalty are the things that are really important in life. Altogether a delightful story which any animal loving youngster is likely to throughly enjoy. The beautiful and lifelike line drawings by Mary Burkhardt add even more to the story.
Grandfather is a great character, and he played the perfect support to Carly's character. I loved the interactions between the two of them, and it gave the book a very cozy feel. Bits and pieces came out about Carly's parents in the story, but it seemed like either not enough or too much. I think the relationship between Carly and her grandfather was enough, and the few bits about Carly's parents kind of threw me off. That information seemed unnecessary to me.
The storyline is smooth and reads well. The writing style is perfectly suited to its intended audience and just descriptive enough that a younger reader would really be able to immerse into the story. The illustrations were beautifully done, and really added a lot to the story. This story reminds me of some of my favorite books growing up; the storyline, the pictures and the writing style all gave me a pleasant, nostalgic feeling, reminding me of why I grew to love books in the first place.
Read the complete review at GraceKrispy's MotherLode review blog!
It is Carly's cheerful and helpful attitude that pulls the reader into the story. She is an imaginative girl and daydreams of being a hero and of taking her pony to a horse show. Carly also has a determined and practical side which we see when she assists in locating a lost hunting hound. Later, this same determination and courage is needed as Carly attempts to help the police find her friend, Freddie.
Sections of the narrative follow non-human characters to show their unique personalities. The characters might be archetypes -- the crafty fox, the naïve hound, the determined young girl, the misunderstood social outcast -- but the descriptions of their interactions remain quite enjoyable despite their familiarity. The manner in which the story is told is original, however. Each character, whether human or animal, has something quite pressing motivating them to action, though it is not always obvious right away what this is. The author describes these motivations in detail by giving the reader an understanding into the character's thoughts, intelligence, and unique awareness.
For example, as a canine, Hampton's dominant sense is smell. The author is able to impart the way in which Hampton understands his environment through his nose. "He sniffed the air, drinking in the smells of a new October day. It was the sweet smell that lingers after a heavy rainfall." Although human noses are not as keen, the reader is still able to absorb this vivid description.
This book's ability to communicate to older children on their level and help them become interested in reading is another one of its great advantages. The story is fast paced and the way it switches story lines every chapter keeps it very entertaining. Yet, interspersed into the plot are sophisticated themes such as forgiveness to those who have shown anger or cruelty towards you, showing kindness and trust to strangers, and even standing up for what you know in your heart is right and true.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of this book is Carly's transformation as she begins making human friends and then realizes she must protect them from the dangers of the world. Could she really be the hero she dreams of being? Only by reading the story can one answer this question, but it is well worth the journey.